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'Hits you pretty hard': An emotional visit to memorial wall for GFPD and family of Officer Cody Holte

Etched into the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., are the names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — "It's a special place," Grand Forks police sergeant Danny Pemberton said as he knelt at the wall.

As they fought back tears, one by one, members of the Grand Forks Police Department looked for a familiar name that has been forever engraved into Panel 64, Row 32, of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

"I didn't think this would hit me this hard, but it's been emotional," Pemberton said.

Adding to the emotions were the pictures of officer Cody Holte placed around his name. For Corporal Jessica Thorlacius, she said it hit her like "a ton of bricks."

"The last year and a half has been really hard on our entire law enforcement family and our entire community," Thorlacius said. "(It's) so special to come here as a group to honor him, to support each other (with) what we have gone through."


Along with the feelings of sadness, there were feelings of guilt that the 29-year-old husband and dad did not return home that night.

"He was the one who died that day out of all of us out there," Thorlacius said.

While it was a time of great sadness as they made rubbings of officer Holte's name on a keepsake piece of paper, some had a little chuckle inside, saying nobody could write Cody's name quite like Cody could.

"He was just a little bit of a sloppy hand writer sometimes, we had good joke about that," said Pemberton with a laugh.

For these officers, they say it's one more step in the healing process. The wall and officer Cody Holte's name on it will always remind them how dangerous the profession can be.

"We are never going to forget him, and now his name is etched into the wall, we won't ever forget him," said Pemberton.

Related Topics: CODY HOLTE
Matt Henson is an Emmy award-winning reporter/photographer/editor for WDAY. Prior to joining WDAY in 2019, Matt was the main anchor at WDAZ in Grand Forks for four years. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended college at Lyndon State College in northern Vermont, where he was recognized twice nationally, including first place, by the National Academy for Arts and Science for television production. Matt enjoys being a voice for the little guy. He focuses on crimes and courts and investigative stories. Just as often, he shares tear-jerking stories and stories of accomplishment. Matt enjoys traveling to small towns across North Dakota and Minnesota to share their stories. He can be reached at mhenson@wday.com and at 610-639-9215. When he's not at work (rare) Matt resides in Moorhead and enjoys spending time with his daughter, golfing and attending Bison and Sioux games.
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